Lismore researchers lead the way on quitting smoking while pregnant

Smoking is the single most important preventable cause of adverse pregnancy outcomes. File photo

Preventing adverse pregnancy outcomes is the aim of Lismore researchers working with the University Centre for Rural Health (UCRH).

The $1,035,000 grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) aims to help pregnant women quit smoking.

‘Smoking is the single most important preventable cause of adverse pregnancy outcomes, including stillbirth, preterm birth and low birth weight. These harms are reduced if women stop smoking during pregnancy. Many pregnant women are motivated to quit but face significant challenges including a lack of effective support from health professionals,’ they say in their press release.

The researchers who are part of Sydney University’s rural clinical school that has been based in Lismore since 2001 are working with the Northern NSW Local Health District, four other Local Health Districts, the Ministry of Health, the Cancer Institute NSW, the NSW Cancer Council and colleagues from the University of Newcastle.

Lead researcher Associate Professor Megan Passey. Photo supplied.

‘This is a wonderful opportunity for our region and for pregnant women and families across NSW, as we’ll now be able to help reduce the harms from smoking,’ said lead researcher Associate Professor Megan Passey.

‘This builds on six years of work we’ve been doing with Clinical Midwifery Consultant, Cathy Adams, and others at the Northern NSW Local Health District, and it’s great to see this partnership enter another phase.’

The project will trial an innovative, evidence-based program – MOHMQuit (Midwives and Obstetricians Helping Mothers to Quit). MOHMQuit is a multi-component program designed to help managers and clinicians to better support pregnant smokers to quit. It takes a whole-of-system approach and includes system-, manager- and clinician-focused elements and was developed collaboratively with project partners. The project will implement MOHMQuit in eight public hospitals providing antenatal care across NSW and test whether it is successful in helping mums to quit.

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